NAVAL ARCHITECT.... A job of challenges. Interview with naval architect Cedric Ardoin.

When we look at a yacht we don't always think about the designer and the restrictions they encounter when designing someone's vessel. Not only, he has to keep in mind all of the essential of what a yacht the owner wants, but also respects the captains' needs and still make sure he respects all the yacht's class specifications.
Cedric Ardoin always wanted to be involved with the superyacht industry. From the age of 12 years old when he was admiring the larger units in Marinas on the French Riviera hoping one day to be able to get on board. A dream that seemed very hard to reach at that age. A few years later with a degree from the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, he returns to the South of France ready to design his first big project. He is particularly drawn to the motor yachting design industry while his classmates at University were more into regattas yachts.


 Tell us how you got your first project?

Cedric: "By going to yacht shows, I started to meet people and gathered an interesting network. It is through one of those persons that I came into contact with the owner of a 52 meter Motor Yacht. A former Canadian Coast Guard vessel, which needed to be converted into a yacht explorer.
Following this first contract of refit/conversion, I created my own design office in 2010. This gave me the opportunity to quickly develop and build a strong network on the Cote d'Azur and Monaco, where large foreign units come periodically. Today I already have some beautiful references of M/Y between 30 and 70 meters and about thirty M/Y projects who have used us in various services successfully.

First 52m

What do you prefer working on, new constructions or refit?

As said earlier I started with an exciting project of refit/conversion, and subsequently, I was consulting on new constructions too. I must say that both are very interesting but different. For refit/conversions, the ship is already here in real life, there is a basis and also technical constraints linked to the existing one, which must be adapted according to the owner's wishes. To do this, you have to be creative and rigorous to find the solutions that suit everyone (Owner, Captain, Class, competent authorities, etc.). For new constructions, you start with a clean sheet, only with the basis of a size and/or type of hull. It is necessary to develop a precise concept, based on the specifications of the project's interlocutors while respecting the industry's standards, and using the know-how of the shipyard and its experienced and qualified subcontractors in the luxury industry.

The objective in both cases is to arrive at a highly qualitative, aesthetic, technically relevant and harmonious result from the point of view of the owner.
While keeping in mind that a yacht is made especially for sailing the oceans, which is very different from a house, apartment or even a floating hotel.

How do you incorporate the layout of safety equipment into the architecture of a yacht? Does it depend on the flag or the yacht's classification?AYD Sample of work 1

In most cases, all fire safety and evacuation elements are concentrated and synthesised on a compulsory basis and displayed on board: EVACUATION & SAFETY PLAN and FIRE CONTROL PLAN. So I often have to make or modify this type of plan, and have to get it approved by the various pavilions (British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Ile of Man, etc.). In order to draft this type of plan, I carry out a survey on board: I list the exact position of all deck-by-bridge safety elements, inside and outside, which must reflect the MCA standards LY3, SOLAS, IMO, and also the expectations of the class (RINA, ABS, LLOYDS, DNV GL ...), according to the owner's choices.


This includes all fire equipment, fire extinguisher (fixed, portable), distress rocket, life rafts, life jackets, immersion suit, medical equipment, BA & EEBD, and multiple fire detectors (gas, smoke…).
Often, my role is also to recommend to the captain of the superyacht, an approved and certified company, such as Pejout Marine Services to complete and find suitable classified and professional equipment.

What are the imperatives that you must respect when you make a new design?

First the client's specifications and all the standards associated with the class, while trying to facilitate the navigation and the manoeuvres on board and of course while respecting the initial budget.


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What kind of projects do you prefer to work on?

I am rather specialised on Yachts Motors over 40m or Explorer 50-60m, but I have already worked on a DEEP BLUE submarine transporter project, short-listed at the Yacht and Aviation Award.


What was the worst project you had to do and why was it the worst?

I do not know of any worse project, for me, every project has its constraints and advantages. In my opinion, it is always necessary to maintain excellent communication with all the interlocutors. It is true that it is not always easy when several large projects arrive at the same time. There is always a solution whatever the complications of the moment.


What was the most creative or interesting project you had to do and why?
Definitely DEEP BLUE submarine transporter project. It was presented to the MYS on the stand of the private submarine manufacturer U-Boat WORKS. The specifications: to facilitate the launching of a submarine of several tons and also to keep in mind to have a nice boat pleasant to manoeuvre.

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But also on projects of refit/conversion of ship between 50 to 70 m. The missions vary from a few very technical plans to update (for example the addition of Underwater Light), to the realisation of new complete plans of structures for the shipyard and validated before with the class. Or the stability of the vessel, as is currently the case for one of our customers on a 60m.
Or else on other recent pleasant mission, is the rearrangement of the interior/exterior space of a bridge, via the 3D tools synthetic images, with the proposal of trends and choice of materials.


What are the ideal conditions to bring out your creativity?
I like to relax with good music, jazz, for example, when I am at my drawing board, to find the calm and serenity conducive to creativity.

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What advice would you give to someone who would like to do a career as a naval architect?

Be passionate, enthusiastic, enjoy hard work, communicate well and become an expert in this field!

Cedric is not a mere naval architect, in order to assist an owner to consider more serenely the construction of a new yacht or the 'refit' of an existing ship, he has created a service entitled: Owner representative ...
"Based on a confidentiality agreement, we offer customized advice and advice for decisions to be made by the owner or future owner of superyacht, especially before the purchase.

This mission aims to help our privileged interlocutor to better understand the complexity of a yacht in order to make the right decisions. It is not only a question of focusing on the aesthetic and luxurious part that can be apprehended immediately during a visit for example. We want to provide a more technical and comprehensive view with the help of study and analysis reports from a simple scope to a comprehensive study. The entire report is delivered in the form of a box for our VIP customer. This then becomes very relevant at the time of the final choice, and allows the customer to refer to it at any time and to better understand all the interactions related to these technical, aesthetic, and navigation choices.

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